The French Defense Ministry has ordered five additional EC725 helicopters from Eurocopter as part of the government’s economic recovery plan.
This new acquisition is part of the plan to revitalize the economy, which the French government introduced in December 2008. The five helicopters are scheduled for delivery between late 2010 and early 2012.
The contract was placed by the French DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) and comprises the delivery of five EC725s plus the related support services. It secures work for 100 Eurocopter personnel and 150 suppliers’ employees over a period of 3 years. The aircraft will be built at the Eurocopter plant in Marignane, in the Bouches-du-Rhône area of France.
“This order is confirmation that the French Armed Forces and Eurocopter made the right decisions when the program was launched,” explained Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. “It is also further proof of the strong trust that a customer like the French Armed Forces has placed in us. The Army and Air Force are already operating these helicopters on a daily basis.”
The five helicopters will join the 14 EC725s that are currently in operation with the French Armed Forces. Since December 2006, the EC725 has been used to support France’s NATO operations in Afghanistan, performing emergency medical services, search & rescue missions and escort duties, and providing humanitarian aid.
The EC725 is the latest addition to the Cougar family. The EC725 is a twin-engine helicopter with a five-bladed main rotor in the medium-lift category (11 metric tons). The aircraft has an exceptional fuel capacity with a flight endurance of five-and-a-half hours and can also be refueled in flight. The multi-purpose EC725 has been designed to perform various missions, including combat search and rescue (CSAR), long distance transport, logistics support, and special operations.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2008, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.5 billion Euros, orders for 715 new helicopters, and a 53 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.